Though I certainly do like pretty clothes, I wouldn’t exactly call myself a fashion buff — and I usually ignore all of the commentary surrounding Michelle Obama’s wardrobe choices, even though I rather like most of her picks, too.
That is, I ignore it until the commentary on whether her dress was flattering starts to take a particularly sexist turn, into the realm of policing what it is and is not appropriate for women to wear, and which (not explicitly sexual) parts of women’s bodies are and are not appropriate for public appearances.
And that seems to be exactly what’s happening with regards to Michelle’s frequent choice to wear sleeveless dresses — such as the one she wore to the State of the Union address last Tuesday (above). The Huffington Post reports:
Michelle Obama made the sleeveless dress something of a signature look this past week, choosing to bare her arms four times in seven days.
The First Lady impressed many, but also made a few waves on Tuesday night when she broke with tradition and wore a sleeveless Narciso Rodriguez dress to the President’s address before Congress. Opinion was divided over whether it was appropriate to show so much skin at such a ceremonial event.
“‘Does the lady not understand that these Big Speech Events are serious and important? Not a cocktail party?'” wrote one Chicago Tribune reader. “”The season is winter. The occasion is business. Dress was wrong place and time.'”
But what particularly interests me is the response out of the White House:
Social Secretary Desiree Rogers defended the decision, telling the Washington Post that Mrs. Obama’s feeling is “If I want to wear no sleeves to hear my husband speak, that’s what I’m going to do.”
Damn fucking straight. Michelle Obama doesn’t need kindhearted Chicago Tribune readers — or anyone else, for that matter — explaining the importance of various official events in a condescending tone. I’m sure she understands perfectly well on her own, thank you very much. Maybe she’s just radical enough to not see (*gasp*) women’s shoulders as “inappropriate.” And maybe, just maybe, she can wear whatever the hell she wants.
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